The Ethical Advantage: The Economic and Social Benefits of Ethics in Australia - ONLINE ONLY


From: Wednesday December 2, 2020, 1:00 pm

To: Wednesday December 2, 2020, 2:00 pm


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If ethics is defined as “a way of structuring human reasoning to help choose what is right or best”, how ethical is Australia? Only 56% of Australians think that most people can be trusted. In 2019, Australia achieved an overall score of +37 on a scale of -100 to +100 (‘somewhat ethical’) on the Governance Institute of Australia’s Ethics Index survey. A 2018 review found that while most ASX200 companies disclosed a code of practice, only six percent had leading practice.

The recent scandalous allegations surrounding Australia Post, the Badgery Creek land transaction, branch stacking, ASIC, sexual misconduct within Federal Parliament House and many others have shone the spotlight on the lack of ethics within the public service.

Australia faces many significant challenges in the post-COVID era. Navigating the health and economic impacts, responding to emerging issues around the future of work and introduction of new technologies, preparing for an increasingly risky geopolitical environment and addressing long-standing social and environmental challenges including climate change and reconciliation with Indigenous Australians are some of them. Improving trust and social capital allows for smoother functioning of markets and reduces the cost of regulation and compliance.

A recent report by Deloitte Access Economics projects an increase in GDP of AUD 45 billion if Australia lifts its trust level to that of global leaders.


Dr. Simon Longstaff, Executive Director of the Ethics Centre, discusses the economic and social benefits of ethics to Australia.

Simon Longstaff began his working life on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory of Australia. He is proud of his kinship ties to the Anindilyakwa people. After a period studying law in Sydney and teaching in Tasmania, he pursued postgraduate studies as a Member of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Simon has been Executive Director of The Ethics Centre for 30 years.

In 2013, he was made an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “distinguished service to the community through the promotion of ethical standards in governance and business, to improving corporate responsibility, and to philosophy.” Simon is an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, a Fellow of CPA Australia, the Royal Society of NSW and the Australian Risk Policy Institute.


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Online Meeting

Level 35, 25 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

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